By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
August 5, 2016
Since last March when North Carolina’s common sense “Bathroom Bill” (HB 2) was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed by the Governor, circumstances related to the measure have stayed in the news.
Here’s a run-down of what took place this week.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder heard arguments on Monday in a Winston-Salem courtroom about whether to block HB 2 until its opponents can make their case in trial. Challengers of the bill include three transgender persons, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Opponents of HB 2 argued that the new law stigmatizes and brands transgender people as second-class citizens, while lawyers for the state said that any blocking of HB 2 would put North Carolina’s women and children at risk. Challengers, the state said, were seeking to overturn “millennia of accepted practice” recognizing the differences by which men and women utilize separate facilities.
Tami Fitzgerald, head of the North Carolina Values Coalition (NCVC), was present for the hearing and said in an alert to NCVC supporters that there were three moments during the proceedings that were “startling.”
She said that when Judge Schroeder asked the ACLU lawyer “whether a 17 year old biological male who identifies as a transgender female and goes into a girl’s shower at a school with a bunch of 12 year old girls would be charged with indecent exposure, the ACLU attorney struggled to respond.” She added, “The judge then followed up with a series of questions asking whether or not children had rights to privacy, and whether the state had an interest in securing those rights.”
Fitzgerald said after asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer about matters pertaining to discrimination, the DOJ contended that “labeling bathrooms with the male or female label is discrimination and directly violates Title IX.”
The Judge, said Fitzgerald, also inquired as to why the UNC school system, as well as the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System “believed they could ignore state laws.” Both of these public entities have been defying HB 2.
Judge Schroeder did not immediately rule on the hearing, but promised his decision would come soon.
NCAA Circulates Questionnaire for Cities
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced their decision July 22 (the day after the NBA pulled the all-star game from Charlotte) that they would provide a nondiscrimination questionnaire to cities looking to host NCAA events.
The questionnaire which is now being circulated is due back as early as Friday of next week (August 12).
Some of the questions include:
- Does your city, county/parish and/or state regulate choice of bathrooms or locker rooms that may affect student athletes, coaches, administrators, or game officials during the Event?
- Does your city, county-parish and/or state regulate choice of bathrooms that may affect fans attending the Event?
- If the Event is planned to be held on institutional/campus property, does your institution have provisions that interfere with any person’s choice of bathroom or locker room?
- Does your host institution(s) hold a Title IX waiver for religious accommodations or have you applied to the Office of Civil Rights for such a waiver?
In a National Review column, titled, NCAA Grandstanding, Ed Whelan, rightly argues that these new NCAA policies, following in the wake of HB 2, are “inconsistent with the Obama Administration’s claim that title IX requires that schools that receive federal funds allow students who identify as transgender to participate in sex-segregated activities ‘consistent with their gender identity.’”
“The NCAA’s interest in making sure that men who identify as women may use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms at NCAA events would appear to be much stronger than its interest in ensuring that men who identify as women are able to play on women’s sport’s teams,” wrote Whelan.
The College Fix reported this week that it wasn’t clear from the questionnaire whether the majority of faith-based schools or institutions would be barred from holding an NCAA Event.
Greg Scott, vice president of communications for Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious freedom law firm, told The Fix in an email that the NCAA is imposing a standard on others that they weren’t willing to follow. Scott said, “This questionnaire and the threats it implies exposes the NCAA as the modern-day Pharisees of sexual politics: they demand adherence to doctrines that they won’t and can’t uphold.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said he thought Barbara Richie Pond, from Raeford, N.C., in her letter to the editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, provided some good advice for the NCAA.
Pond wrote: “The NBA, ACC and NCAA are not my elected officials. They have no right to dictate the laws of my state. They don’t get to decide if my 2-year-old great-granddaughter has to go to the bathroom with men. I dictate that at the polls when I elect my state legislators. House Bill 2 is not about bathrooms. It is about privacy and safety. It’s not about NC Equality, a special interest group. It’s about all the people of North Carolina. Transgenders did not lose their rights…I spent my whole life at the Dixie Classics. I am ashamed of the ACC, NBA and NCAA. Get out of the political arena and back on the court.”
SCOTUS Blocks Transgender Bathroom Decision
Thursday, the United States Supreme Court in a 5-3 ruling blocked the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board.
In that lower court decision, the word “sex” was interpreted to include “gender identity” under Title IX nondiscrimination law – an interpretation of the law that was never approved by Congress but imposed under the Obama Administration.
Gavin Grimm, a female student that perceives herself to be male, sued the Gloucester County School Board to be able to use the boy’s bathroom at school. Her attorneys contended the school system that Grimm attended was violating federal education nondiscrimination law. The Gloucester School Board argued that requiring students be exposed to other students of the opposite biological sex in intimate settings deprived parents of their constitutional right to direct the education and training of their children.
But the 4th Circuit agreed with Grimm, and, therefore, required the Gloucester County School Board to allow students identifying with a gender opposite to their biological sex to use the restroom, shower room, or locker room with which they identify.
The School Board then filed an emergency appeal with the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling by SCOTUS now puts the 4th Circuit decision on hold while SCOTUS decides whether to take-up the School Board’s petition for review. If SCOTUS decides to review the case, the block will stand until a final decision is made. If the Justices decide not to hear the case, the 4th Circuit’s ruling will be reinstated.
The case is important to North Carolina because of HB 2 and the lawsuits related to it that are currently waiting to be heard. North Carolina falls under the jurisdiction of the 4th Circuit.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Relent on Restroom Rules
In a statement released late Wednesday evening about the SCOTUS decision, Dr. Creech pointed out that the Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) system had been in defiance of North Carolina’s HB 2 since last June. He noted school officials had already been receiving training to implement a policy that they argued was based on the 4th Circuit’s decision in the Grimm case.
“Now that the High Court has blocked the 4th Circuit’s decision, will CMS officials, at least for now, abandon their plans to execute their egregious, misguided, and immoral policy?” asked Dr. Creech. “It’s outrageous that they are currently ignoring state law, but to impose their plan at this point would be nothing less than brazen lawlessness.”
In his press release, Dr. Creech also added:
“Although I am not Catholic, I am in full agreement with Pope Francis, who told a group of Polish bishops last week that its “terrible” that children are being taught that they can choose their own gender. “God created man and woman,” he said, “God created the world like this and we are doing the exact opposite.”
“The forces behind this are spiritually dark. We cannot replace God’s order with our own subjective reality,” continued Dr. Creech. “We do a gross injustice to our children if we teach them that they can. If we continue to fancy this nonsense, it is not hyperbole to say the collective carnage on every human level – emotionally – mentally – physically – will be atomic in the years to follow.”
Thursday, CMS Superintendent, Ann Clark, announced that Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools would put a hold on their new rules that grant transgender students to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and showers of the gender with which they identify.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Clark said in a statement, “CMS remains committed to nurturing a safe and welcoming learning environment for every student. As a result of yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, we have placed a temporary hold on the section of the CMS bullying prevention regulation which states that transgender students will be given access to the to the restroom and locker room facilities corresponding with their gender identity.”
Dr. Creech said that he didn’t know if his press release had reached Superintendent Clark’s desk and played any part in CMS official’s decision to pause the bathroom policy. He said that he hadn’t sent it directly to her. “She and the folks running that school system were outrageously out of line to flout state law, but I suspect it’s more likely that she and others there just saw the handwriting on the wall and understood to disregard it any further would be a textbook definition of lawlessness,” he said. “I think the question now is what will UNC do? They are rebelling against the law too.”
Dr. Creech urged concerned Citizen Christians to pray. “Our state and nation’s future are at stake,” he said. “If we begin to judge life by subjective reasoning in law and via other institutions, rather than objective reality, then our rights will be determined simply by the opinions of the most powerful among us. This is an exceedingly dangerous direction our nation is heading. The view of many is that these new ideas are creating a more perfect union, but instead they are perpetrating a delusion that will ultimately destroy our liberty.”
Judge Schroeder Announces He Wants More from Lawyers
Friday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, announced he wanted to hear more from lawyers on the case before him about whether to block HB 2. He said he wanted attorneys to tell him the way he should treat Wednesday’s Supreme Court’s decision in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board.
“I am cautiously optimistic that this is a good sign,” said Dr. Creech. “I believe the Judge is giving both sides the opportunity to make their best case in light of the SCOTUS ruling. I suspect that he is saying, “I need more convincing here. Tell me why I should block HB 2 when the Supreme Court just ruled, at least temporarily, in favor of the status quo – it ruled to continue requiring people use the facilities consistent with their biological sex.”
Dr. Creech renewed his call to prayer for the case.
In a recent Facebook Post, Dr. Creech wrote:
“We mustn’t treat prayer as though it’s our last resort. It’s something that we should do with faith, trusting that God will hear us and respond. The circumstances may be beyond our control, but they are not beyond the Lord’s.
“Judge Schroeder is now considering his ruling. While waiting for that ruling, would you join me every day in going to your knees in believing prayer, asking God to lay it upon the heart of this judge to resist evil and protect and preserve justice as seen through the lens of God’s Holy Word and character?
“Let’s not be too busy to pray about this very important matter.
“Many of you have already prayed about this issue today. But let us pray all the more…pray…pray…pray…”